The relationship between technical and behavioral success factors is an
interactive one. That is, overall performance is the result of having both
the needed job knowledge and the ability to apply that knowledge effectively to
fulfill the expectations of the job or role.
- knowledge (e.g., product knowledge)
- skill (e.g., financial analysis)
- skill (e.g., problem solving)
- social role: how you want others
to see you, your "outer-self", the image you project
(e.g., technical expert)
- self-image: what is important to you,
your "inner-self", importance of your attitudes and values
(e.g., customer focus, self-confidence)
- traits(e.g., self-control, attention
to detail and quality)
- motives(e.g., personal achievement,
||One of the
easiest ways to show the relationship of the components of the success factors
is to picture an iceberg. Above
the waterline is the technical knowledge a person has about something.
Closer to the waterline is skill, i.e., the ability to perform a physical
or technical task, such as financial analysis, or a cognitive task, such
as problem solving. It is relatively easy to see people performing
the physical tasks, and, consequently, to assess them. Those skills
closer to, or just below, the waterline are more difficult to assess.
For example, with problem solving you can see the solution, but you cannot
necessarily see the thought process.
Social role relates to how we project ourselves, our outer self, the image we
want to project. For example, some doctors may project the image of EXPERT
by focusing on how much they know about a particular specialty or how much skill
they have at a specific function. Others may project the image of HELPER
by focusing on what they can do for others. How we choose to project
ourselves to others influences where we put our emphasis in performing our
Self-image gets at our attitudes and values and relates to the feelings we have
about ourselves, and what is important to us as individuals, our
inner-self. For example, if a person has an attitude or value that serving
customers is important, that person may be more likely to answer repeated
requests for information and assistance than someone else who doesn't share the
same attitudes and values. Another example of self-image is a person's
level of self-confidence.
Traits are the characteristics or consistent/habitual ways of responding in a
variety of situations such as attention to detail and quality and
self-control. Certain jobs or roles require certain traits. For
example, if the job or role involves defusing highly emotional situations and
therefore requires a great deal of self-control, you would look for someone who
consistently demonstrates that trait when selecting candidates.
Motives are deep-rooted and formed early in life. They are the things a
person consistently thinks about or wants that cause them to take action.
For example, someone who is highly achievement-motivated will always strive to
do a better job. Someone who is highly social and is driven by an
affiliation motive may be better suited to a role that involves dealing with
people as their emphasis will be on building and maintaining positive
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Practical use of success factors
What is important about all of this is that we can identify what behaviors
individuals demonstrate when they are performing at superior levels, regardless
of the underlying reasons. With this information, we can build templates,
or behavioral success factors so that we all can see what superior performance
looks like. This helps us understand more clearly what we can do to
achieve superior levels of performance.
Why use success factors?
Knowing that superior performance is so valuable, corporate leaders, managers,
and human resource professionals have typically searched for qualities such as
"initiative" and "communication skills" in the people they
hired. However, two things remained uncertain until recently:
- How to address these qualities
- Whether these qualities were actually
related to superior performance on the job
Using a competency-based approach and developing
behavioral success factors are the keys to defining, assessing and linking such
qualities to job performance.
Benefits of using success factors
Success factors can be used to:
- Help people identify more clearly what
behaviors they need to demonstrate to be successful in the job or role
(i.e., commit to a personal development plan).
- Help managers be more objective and provide
the appropriate coaching to help employees develop.
- Help the organization to recruit and select
- Help individuals be successful in their jobs
and help the organization differentiate itself in the eyes of its key
stakeholders (e.g., customers, shareholders, etc.).
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